Verse of the Day

Thursday, October 6

Mercy and Ministry

Kenton has a long history of working with those who are resource challenged. A great deal of this has been overseas on mission fields from Ethiopia to the Sudan. There have been forays into local work as well from one week trips to other communities to Kenton's involvement with founding Portland Organizing Project in the early 90's.

The last few years we've tried to become more one-to-one in our approach. We have sponsored children and families through Prison Fellowship's Angel Tree and have made and distributed lunches to about 75 homeless people once every couple of months. We've also invited the pastor of Knowing Me ministries to speak at our church at various times.

I mention all of this so that you might take five minutes and read this link about mercy ministries. It is well thought out and his points at the end are worth printing out and going over at every mission committee you have.
Peace,


Alan

Monday, September 12

Winds of Change

My better .9 has been officially unemployed since April. It may be hard to imagine an RN not being able to find work and I'm sure her 'experience' and the fact she was the top of the pay-scale for her prior employer had nothing to do with it. But she has a job starting September 19. Among the changes for her is a new company with different ways of doing things and for the first time in her professional life she'll have to commute to work more than 5 miles. I mention this because since May of 2010, and the death of my mother, our life has been one big change after another.

As we all know change is not always positive. And around our area are many people facing changes that are difficult. Marriages are ending, loved ones have possible fatal cancer, schools are in upheaval, jobs aren't there, and cars aren't running. Anyone older than 20 have had such things happen.

Our experience through this [I wish I could say I was always upbeat and positive about God's control] was that God wins out and His plan is better than what we may wish for. We've both questioned God's wisdom when things we thought seemed good didn't work out. We've wondered when jobs and health setbacks came but underlying all of this has been the sense that God's in control.

My purpose is to simply give anyone who feels under-the-gun of change a chance to take a deep breath and realize that hope, God's Hope, is an ever-present reality when change comes.

Peace,
Alan

Saturday, August 20

The Prophet Harold said it...

Way back in the mid-90's HR Reverend Harold Kurtz met with a group of conservative pastors before the Presbytery of the Cascade's meeting. We were in Central Church, Eugene and it was following the General Assembly meeting. He simply told the group how he'd been at General Assembly and "everything changed". There was no removal of the 'authoritative interpretations' or repeal of the 'fidelity and chastity' clause. What he meant was that the place of the PC(USA) in the life of the world-wide Church had shifted. A year or so previously he told our church, his prior congregation, that "nothing had changed."

When I asked him what caused this shift he told the group that the PC(USA) was not willing to listen to the vast history of the church in the rest of the world. He was right as the Presbyterian Church in Mexico has proven.

At least the PC(USA) can take comfort in knowing that they know the real revelation of God... What did they use to call that... Gnostic...something or other..

Peace





Saturday, July 30

Harry Potter Last Movie

Hat tip to Man of Depravity's recent Friday post but I felt the article dealing with Christian themes within Deathly Hallows 2 needed to be read. Excellent article if you've not seen the movie or have no plans to see the movie. Consider that a SPOILER ALERT.

Read and enjoy De-Theologizing Harry. Had that link wrong... Thanks R.C.


Peace

Alan

Wednesday, June 29

World Mission work

The Evangelical Presbyterian Church wrapped up there General Assembly this past week. Below is a video on their World Outreach. Watch and enjoy.


Peace,


Alan

Wednesday, May 11

Change Has Come

The Presbytery of Twin Cities became the vote to push the PCUSA's overture over the top. The Book of Order will now read,
Standards for ordained service reflect the church’s desire to submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life (G-1.0000). The governing body responsible for ordination and/or installation (G.14.0240; G-14.0450) shall examine each candidate’s calling, gifts, preparation, and suitability for the responsibilities of office. The examination shall include, but not be limited to, a determination of the candidate’s ability and commitment to fulfill all requirements as expressed in the constitutional questions for ordination and installation (W-4.4003). Governing bodies shall be guided by Scripture and the confessions in applying standards to individual candidates.
A couple of obvious changes for my former denomination will be:
  •  Self-avowed practicing homosexual persons will now be openly and proudly ordained in congregations and presbyteries. 
  • In other presbyteries the same people won't get a hearing and their will be remedial cases headed off to the regional Permanent Judicial Commissions etc.
  • Evangelical congregations and groups will publish letters, articles and the like and seek separate Synods, calls for repentance and hold gatherings to rally the troops
Yet the subtler changes will often be ignored, downplayed or not spoken about. For those who do not agree with such ordinations still must vow to  "be governed by our church's polity...be a friend among your colleagues in ministry..." Such pastors, elders and deacons could come before their Presbytery and/or Session and declare a scruple about their vow but I don't see that happening. Instead, those who disagree will continue on and probably throw themselves into the ministry they see as valid, all the while, ignoring the larger issue for the denomination.
Although NOT in the BOO, a common understanding about ordination is expressed in Leslie Scanlon's article dated March 21, 2011, "that in the PC(USA) ordination is done on behalf of the whole church". If this is true then each and every congregation and session has a role in the ordination of each and every pastor and officers. If not true, then they're almost Baptists.
I'm going to come off sounding unloving but the deciding factor for most conservative congregations within the PCUSA is money not theology.  If it costs too much to leave they will stay and complain or shut up and do their own thing. Many  have done this since Angela Davis was an issue [It is in the Wikipedia article]. Oh, there will be some who bite the bullet, pay off Presbytery or walk away from their buildings and campuses but they will be the minority.
So, to my sisters and brothers who are in the PCUSA, I am praying for you, for your congregations and your next steps. God be with you.

Peace,

Alan

Tuesday, April 26

The Truth about Easter

I looked for Matthew Ward's version of this but couldn't find it SIGH...



Came back here because I ran across a great podcast in looking for Matthew Ward's version. It's called "full circle" and they're available on iTunes. Right now I'm listening to episode 117 which is playing the old classic musical "Firewind".

If you like classic Christian music this is a great place to listen.

Peace,

Alan

Sunday, April 3

Arguing with the Giants

Rev. Terry Jones is not my favorite pastor in the world. I would not attend his church nor would I ask him to preach for me. But I find myself in prayer for him as he faces the persecution from the media over his burning of a Koran. He claims no responsibility for the riots or death which have erupted following his actions.

I don't know if he's to blame or not. What I do know, is that the news media has NOT painted Rev. Jones with the same brush used on Mr. Kurt Westergaard who drew cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad a few years ago.

Twelve cartoons brought about a series of protests and riots by Muslims around the globe. Included among the actions were a mutual murder of Muslim and Christians by one another in Nigeria. Burning of various embassies and attacks on the US Airbase at Bagram Afghanistan.

Yet no where in the press can I find an interviewer asking Mr. Westergaard if he felt responsible for the deaths or outrage. However, Terry Jones has been asked the question repeatedly. I'd like to take claim for the insight as to why this has happened but I have to pass on a hat tip to elder Tim for his insight.

As he pointed out. The Danish cartoonist, Mr. Westergaard worked for who? My answer, the media. And who is reporting on the cartoons and Terry Jones? My answer, the media. And who has a vested interest in "free speech". My answer, the media... Oh, I get it.

When it threatens them it is a matter of free speech and people rally around them by supporting Denmark and the like. But, when it's some right-wing preacher it's throw him to the lion time in the old Colosseum tonight. Let me thank the news media for giving me just one more example to share with my sisters and brothers in Christ about why the news media isn't about news but about advertising.

I may not have done what you did Pastor Jones but I will pray for you as you are attacked.

Peace,
Alan